Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo Friday: Success!

Only one photo today; well, six of a similar nature. 

Final word count at validation is 50,160. The story needs heavy editing, a middle, and an end. It'll likely wind up around 25-40K by the time I finish.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Triple W Check In for Wednesday


Current word count, as seen from the widget, is just over 45K. NaNo ends this Friday, leaving me only 5K to go in the next three days. After that, I plan to try to keep to a schedule of at least 500-1K per day.  I’ll continue working on my NaNo book, as most of what I’ve written is unusable, but was written in an effort to keep the word count high. It’s still story, but I don’t think some of it will belong to this story, necessarily. I plan to finish the NaNo book by the end of December.

One good thing about NaNo, regardless of if I “win” or not, is that this story has decided to become a series and I’ve gotten a few other series ideas—one from the story I was originally going to write, one from the story I put in my NaNo profile (but am not writing), one from hubby, and about two or three others that my muse is sending my way for love and attention. Still trying to come up with a name for the series/the current book. May wind up having a contest for help with that. As to word count on the books, it appears as though each story of the series is going to wind up close to 25K each.


Overall starting weight was around mid 216 (pounds, not kilos O_O). I’ve gotten as low as 212.4 and messed it up. As of this morning, I am down to 213.4 again. I stopped exercising last week, with the kids at home and Thanksgiving cooking and cleaning and decorating. Oh my. So long as this sort of trend doesn’t continue over the next few vacations, I’ll be good.

I’ve brought my weight loss goals up to 1.5 pounds per week from 1 pound per week. Starting back this week to exercising, I am doing 5 minutes of warm-up calisthenics (I got up to five regular push-ups this morning from zero just a month ago); I also do sit ups, “girl” push-ups, flutter kicks, stretches and use small weights to try to keep from having the flappy arms. I’ve increased my treadmill time from 20 minutes to 25 minutes of variable speeds. On a sad note, I will have to find a body of water to chuck my iPod into; luckily, being in Florida, that’s not hard to find. The fool thing only lasted eight minutes this morning. Eight! Unfortunately, I do not have funds for a new one at this time.


Nice cool weather today—60s and mid-70s. Was cool enough to actually open the windows up last week, at least until Saturday; had to cut on the A/C for the past three days. It’s actually chilly enough right now with the windows open to think about closing them—despite wearing jeans and having my socks on. Time to snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa.

A friend in Canada is expecting up to 11 inches of snow. I miss my snow in the winter, believe me, but that’s a bit much for my taste. But it did spark a story idea… 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mysterious Monday: The Power of Names

As a young child, I once asked my parents to buy me one of those name plaques at a tourist attraction—you know the ones, that have not only your name on them, but the meaning as well. I came to find out that my name had a Gaelic origin (which pleased me well, as I was über proud of my Irish heritage); it meant small waterfall or a pool of water in a glen. Even before I found this out, I always loved the peace I felt in little glens of this sort.

I read a lot as a child, and in those days, I was overly fond of Irish myths and legends. I found it interesting that, according to myths, a person could have power over a supernatural creature if they knew the creature’s true name. Irish, Welsh, and Scottish myths abounded with tales of this sort.

And so, when I began writing my own stories at the tender age of ten, I was very careful of what names I chose for my characters. Before I could even consider having babies, I had tons of baby name books. My own childrens’ names were chosen very carefully—both have strong middle names and my first-born’s name means, “powerful king”; the youngest’s name means, “gift from God” (although I didn’t think God was the sort to give prank gifts before my Little Bear came along--J).

To this day, I cannot start a story unless I have chosen the names of my hero and heroine. Thank goodness for the internet!

One of my heroes is named Hart—his parents are traditionalists, of German descent. He is well aware of, and has heard, all the jokes and double entendre of his name. His name means “strong” or “brave”, but I also named him this because of the ties to British myth that are in my story. In fact, a white hart represented the otherworld in English myths and since he travels to a parallel universe—or “other world”—I thought the name apropos.

The heroes of my Nephalim book are named Gadri-el and Azazel. According to Wikipedia (I know, great source material, Lynne), Gadreel was the fallen angel who taught men about warfare. My Gadri-el is a general in his army. There is some controversy over this “fact”, with Azazel being the other militant candidate. My Gadri-el and Azazel are half brothers; Azazel serves as a captain in the Nephalim army.

So tell me about you—do you know the meaning of your name? Is it something that even interests you? What care do you take in naming the things in your life—your pets, your children, your characters?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo Friday--My First World Problem

As you all know from previous posts, griping about the reasons I am unable to keep up on my word count for NaNo, we were given the gift of a vacation condo stay for the week from one of my clients. It is quite pretty, but is only about 20 minutes away--close enough that you're tempted to run home for forgotten items that you "need", but far enough (and $3 in tolls each way) that it's cheaper to either do without or just buy locally (at the "inflated for tourists" prices). We thought about doing Thanksgiving dinner there, but in the end, decided that:

A) It's our first year in our new home. We'd like to have it here.
B) It would be a pain to have to make sure we had everything there--proper pans, spices, etc, as well as the main courses.

Next year, if she gives us the place again, we might, although that will be the teen's last year with us before he takes off for the Army and basic training. At any rate, what we had to suffer through:

The dining room, which looks toward the living room and the screened-in porch.

The jacuzzi in the master bedroom. 

The king-sized bed in the master bedroom. 

The 12 year-old in the spare bedroom (two full-sized beds). 

We fed bagels to ducks. 

There were fountains.

There was a pool, but I never got to it. I made dinner one night while hubby brought the pre-teen down and another day, the teen brought his brother so I could try to get some work done. So there you have it--our "problem". No weeping for me, now (even if I AM behind by over 5K words with no hope of a catch-up any time soon). :P

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Triple W Check In

Just a quick check-in today, as I have spent most of the day preparing for Thanksgiving, cleaning our stuff out of the vacation condo, and cleaning the house, as well as trying to get caught up on NaNo word count.

First off, words:

I'm behind in NaNo, thanks to all the usual busyness of the season, plus a client who likes to give us her timeshare for a week at this time of year (yes, I know, woe is me). Unfortunately, it's only 20 minutes from our home, which really doesn't make for a vacation. All the back and forth movement between the timeshare condo and our house as we try to keep up on work before the holiday has left me even further behind in everything. Didn't think that was possible, to be honest...

At any rate, current word count is 32,534; today's par for NaNo is 35K. Now, I did write nearly 4K words yesterday to try to catch up--that's how I got to the current word count. 

Last night, hubby and I went out to dinner to celebrate not only his birthday, but our 19th wedding anniversary; tonight, we are going out for the annual "Thanksgiving" dinner with a group of car enthusiasts that we are friends with. Tomorrow, I'll be making the Thanksgiving dinner, but we don't eat until after 4, so I'm hoping I will have time then and/or Friday. Saturday, I may be working and/or conducting a yard sale at a flea market. Sunday, I have to make sure the kids are ready to go back to school (homework completed, bags packed, have clean clothes). Those days will be out for catch-up word counts; in fact, I'll be lucky to make the 1667. 

On a positive note, the story is coalescing into something more than it was, the characters making themselves known, and something that is resembling an outline is forming in the fog of my brain. LOL


Let's not discuss this, shall we? Suffice to say, the pounds that I lost in Connecticut have found their way back to me in Florida. Guess I should've hidden better.


The days have been hovering in the 70s, a bit warmer than I'd like, but the nights are going down into the 50s. Not cold enough to have to wear sweaters and boots, but chilly enough that I can. When I can, I do. I love sweaters and boots. 

See you all at next week's check-in. Have a great week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mysterious Monday: Thanksgiving Traditions

This is not the usual sort of article I’ll be putting in my blogs for Mysterious Monday, but I wanted to give a nod to one of my favorite national holidays.

I grew up in the New England area of the United States. New England was near to bursting with the traditions of the holiday that had started on its grounds. We would decorate with sheaves of dead corn stalks and cornucopia and Indian corn and gourds of various sizes and colors, along with, of course, the many decorations I had made in school.

We would spend days getting ready for the “feast”, whether it was held at our house or the home of a relative. At our house, my dad was the cook. He would get up while it was still dark outside and prep the turkey—pulling out the giblets and setting them aside for the base to his homemade gravy, stuffing the inside with the bread stuffing he had made up the day before, and rubbing the skin with oil and herbs until it shone like the hide of a horse in a show. He would place the turkey in the big roasting pan, which was only used for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and place it carefully in the oven.

When I was old enough, I helped him in this mysterious task of prepping the festive dinner. Once we had the turkey in the oven, it was time to peel the potatoes, make the dough for the rolls, and start chopping the squash.

Once everything was prepared, and the dishes we had used to that point were washed and put away, it was time to set the table with the good china. Dad would take it down and place it on the table for me and I would carefully separate it—one plate in the center of each setting, a dinner napkin folded into a triangle placed to the left of the plate, the dinner and dessert forks laying on top of the napkin, knife and spoon on the right, an etched glass on the right above the plate. I loved setting the table that everyone would be eating at; somehow, for this holiday, it seemed different from all the other days that I had to set it.

With dinner cooking and the table set, I was allowed to go outside to play. Outside, in those early days in New Hampshire, the wind would howl and sometimes snow would fall, dancing merrily on the wind currents. I would bundle up in my longjohns, jeans, boots, a button-up cowboy shirt under a sweater, and a jacket, mittens, scarf and cap; then, it was outside to run and jump in the leaves or taste the snow as it fell to earth.
After an hour or so, I would come back inside, having had my little adventures, and Mom would have hot cocoa ready for me. The almost painful feeling of that heat enveloping me as I came in the door is still one of my favorite memories of cold weather. I would remove all of my outdoor clothes and slip on a pair of fuzzy slippers (I still love fuzzy pink or purple slippers to this day), then sit at the table while I slowly thawed out, the warmth of the cocoa on my insides and the drowsy, yummy heat of the kitchen on my outsides meeting somewhere in the middle to meld into a very contented little girl.

The smells of cinnamon from Mom’s pumpkin and squash pies would combine with the scents of cooking vegetables and—when Dad opened the oven to baste the turkey—the mouth-watering scent of a roasting bird and baking bread, to drive my poor stomach nearly insane with wanting to eat.  Soon—but not soon enough—Dad would take the turkey from the oven and place it on the carving board. Mom and I would wait for those first few cuts and “sneak” some of the meat, still hot on the bird; for his part, Dad would turn his back on the “thief” and pretend to be shocked to find a piece of meat missing. Mom always said the best turkey was the bits we snuck while my dad’s back was turned.

After dinner, we would rest our poor bellies for a bit, then put away the food. We washed the dishes as a team, singing as we worked to make the chore seem lighter. If the weather was not too horrible, we would take a walk after that, to “make room” for the pies, which were still to come. Pie with whipped cream, and coffee or tea, rounded off the meal of the day and we would all wind up in various states of tryptophan-induced drowsiness while the football game played in the background on the TV.

I miss those wonderful days—the ones spent with just my parents and the later ones, when we would have Thanksgiving with my grandparents and my aunts, uncles and cousins in Connecticut. Every year, I hope and pray that our Thanksgiving in Florida will be a chilly one to recapture some of that flavor of the old days up north. It’s not quite Thanksgiving day, but it is currently 59ºF and my youngest son has just presented me with a “hand turkey” drawing that he made last night when he couldn’t sleep. The mystery of holiday traditions continues. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Devil or Angel?

So last August, my parents got a new kitten, after their old cat passed away a month or two before. We all thought it was a lovely idea. My mother, who has Alzheimer's and is a virtual shut in (not "virtual" as in she's on the computer all day, virtual as in, the only time she gets out of the house is when my dad makes her get out & go with him someplace), loved the new cat. Until she came to the (literally) painful conclusion that kittens are very different creatures from cats. 

The as-of-then-unnamed kitten would claw and scratch and bite her; the kitten was just being playful, but my mother, with her disease, was even more traumatized by the attacks than a healthy person would be. She wanted to keep the kitten, though, because sometimes, the kitten was such a doll. In fact, my son named her "Kisses" because she also has this habit of kissing the person whose arms she is in.

I just came back from a visit to my parents' house and the kitten has grown into a small cat. Now, she looks like this:

Sure, she still looks all sweet and innocent, but when she's closed in her room at night, she sleeps until around 3:00 a.m.--as in 0300, as in one hour after the bars close, two and a half hours before my usual rising time. When she wakes, she proceeds to yowl as though her little kitty heart were breaking. I was tempted to reach down her throat and remove it after day three, just to see if it was indeed broken. Tempted. She is still fine, PETA. She also claws, scratches, and pulls at the door to the bedroom, shaking the door on its frame and making a general racket. If you let her out at this point, she proceeds to run about the house, breaking things.

My parents are old. They have neither time nor patience for what is, in reality, a child who needs not only love, but discipline. They have all the love in the world to give, but Kisses is out of control and they do not have the skills at this point in their lives, especially with Mom's disease and me living 1200 miles away with my own growing family, to take proper care of her. 

My father now has an ad up at his job and he is hoping to find Kisses a new home before the end of the year. At that point, they might--stress the might--go to a shelter and rescue an older, more settled cat; one who can be the companion my mom is looking for, but not the Hellion that a young cat naturally is. As I was looking at the pictures of Kisses this morning, preparing to write this blog, a song by my mom's favorite singer kept running through my head. With that in mind, here's some of the lyrics, feel free to find it on YouTube or somewhere--Elvis Presley's "Devil in Disguise". It suits our little Kisses, that's certain.

"You look like an angel
Walk like an angel
Talk like an angel
But I got wise
You're the devil in disguise"

(And yes, I do know the title of the blog is the title of another song from that era by Bobby Vee. Pardon me while I pull up my support bra and put my teeth in.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Check In: Words, weight & weather

Word Count:

Currently, I am sitting pretty with NaNo, or at least still seated, with a word count of 21,853, which has me caught up as of yesterday. When you consider that I did not write Monday, except for my blog entry, that’s not bad. 

I only worked about an hour yesterday (I work from home as an independent sales rep for a major company). I did have to do grocery shopping after being away for five days, but when I got home and put the groceries away, it was BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard). I wrote a total of 3352 words yesterday alone. I have yet to write today’s 1667, but I am actually ahead by 187 words, so all I really NEED to write to stay on top of NaNo is 1480. One good hour/hour and a half can knock that out.

Weight Loss:

The plan, while I was in Connecticut visiting my parents, was to take a walk every morning. They live in a perfect area for it—hilly, with some long, steep hills and some short, gentle hills. There are some sidewalks, but traffic is not that much of a problem in general, except when the middle school is starting or letting out, and even then, the school is around the corner, so it’s easy to avoid. That was the plan. My parents’ sleepless, noisy, obnoxious kitten had other ideas. She yowled so loudly every night, pulling and scratching on the door to her room, that sleep was impossible; letting her out only allowed her to make noise by breaking things.

Exhaustion will do bad things for you when it comes to exercise and healthy eating choices. My parents also have a house that’s more full of candy, cookies, and general sweets than the witch’s house from Hansel & Gretel. My mom, who has Alzheimer’s, also has a huge sweet tooth; my dad works a lot and so he keeps the sweets in the house so that she will at least eat SOMETHING when he is not around. Despite this, and the irresistible call of a decent pizza that sweeps over me every time I go home, I managed to lose three pounds (a little over a pound of which was re-gained last night with burgers and fries—one burger, Lynne. ONE burger!). I am now down to 213.8, working hard on getting below that 210 mark before I set my new goal.

I’ve begun planning the menu for the week, so that not only is grocery shopping going to become easier (and maybe cheaper), but there will not be as many “catch as catch can” dinners.  Tonight will be chicken, rice, and broccoli. Water and salad will be consumed first, as an appetizer.


Well, I’m definitely back in Florida. The temp yesterday went into the 80s. No more long pants during the day, at least not at the moment. Connecticut had absolutely beautiful weather while I was there. It snowed the day before my arrival. Each day, the temp went up into the 60s, with night temps in the 30s, which kept the snow around for a few days, even as it slowly disappeared.

I am hopeful that next week, with Thanksgiving here, we will at least see some 50s & 60s during the day. I just want to be able to turn off my air conditioner and open the windows.

Some pics from Connecticut:

My parents' back yard:

Look! I got to wear boots!

A bit of snow on the roof (just like me! :-) )

My boot prints in the snow:

Broad Brook, which flows through Meriden. One of my favorite spots. Took my boy fishing here last trip.

The hill on the other side of the road from Broad Brook. I love the whole topography of Connecticut.

A pond/lake at the base of Meriden Mountain. One of my other favorite spots. When I lived in Connecticut, I would take lunch breaks here whenever I could. When the stress of dealing with my mom's illness got too much a couple years ago, this is where I went to calm down. 

If you had your choice, where in the world would you live? Would weather be a factor or just something to be dealt with? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mysterious Monday: Pentagrams

A pentagram is a five pointed, star-shaped figure that is often—and wrongfully—associated with Satanism. In my research for my NaNo story, I discovered many things, including how little I know about higher math.

Now, a star is not a pentagram. A pentagram has the “drawing lines” as it were, bisecting the star shape. Similar, but not exactly the same, is the pentacle, which is a pentagram located inside of a circle.

Most pentagrams have what’s called a “golden ratio. A golden ratio states that, well, there are all these complicated mathematical ratios that I could go into, but I don’t want my head to explode at this particular point in time. So, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s the picture and explanation from Wikipedia.

Basically, a golden ratio states that:

Red/green = green/blue = blue/magenta = some symbol that seems to stand for the golden ratio. The significance of the golden ratio? Hell if I know, but apparently, it is something that makes things aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. It is found in nature, works of art, and even ancient buildings such as the pyramids.

Another cool thing that I found is something I wound up using in my NaNo novel. It is called, “Wu Xing”. Wu Xing is an Oriental methodology of healing, using the elements, only in Chinese lore, there are five elements instead of four: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. There are three “cycles” to Wu Xing—the controlling cycle, the generative cycle, and the destructive cycle. The controlling cycle is the one that seems to keep with the format of the pentagram. In the controlling cycle, wood breaks the earth, the earth absorbs the water, the water douses the fire, fire melts the metal and metal splits the wood.

It is this cycle I have used in my story to explain the Nephalim healing methods. The Nephalim lay a victim in a pentacle and place the five elements on the body part that is in the point of that element. They chant until the “session” is over, ancient words of power. When they are done, they take the elements with them. After five sessions (to match with the five elements), the victim is healed. If the trauma is severe, the healing may take up to five, five session healings.

So what do you think of when you see a pentagram? Do you have nightmares from Algebra class, do you think of Satanism, do you think of Wicca or the Christmas stars on Main Street or what?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Word Count:

So, NaNo is up and running, and so am I. My current word count for the week is 11,554 in my NaNo work. At this point, I am loosely titling the series, The Return, but it might be End of Days or The Circle (as in the circle of life). See my NaNo page for a summary of the work and to learn about my characters.

I have not written outside of NaNo, but I did get my final chapter of my current fan fic back from my beta; my beta is a published author who has served as president of her local RWA chapter and is an extraordinary editor. Her comments indicated that I did not need to change one single word or bit of punctuation!

Weight Loss:

Well, I still haven’t lost much (like three pounds, overall), but then, I haven’t changed my eating habits much, either. The exercise is making me more flexible, and I am finding that I need my afternoon nap less and am less lethargic throughout the day. I leave to visit my folks in New England for a few days tomorrow and will be walking outdoors while I’m there—they live in a pretty, hilly area that will test my legs more than my treadmill does.


It’s cold in them thar hills! Well, on the plateau that is Central Florida, anyway. We went back up to the 80s again for a few days and the A/C had to go back on, but this morning it was 54ºF. In New England, it has apparently been in the 40s during the day where my parents live. I am packing every sweater I own, as well as my jeans and my sweats. Wish my boots weren’t falling apart.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Myth: The Nephalim

My current NaNoWriMo story was going to be about angels, but my muse had other ideas. Apparently, she's in the mood for Nephalim right now.

What is a Nephalim? If you're a good Christian, or a good non-Christian, you may have heard of them. Fallen angels, the "sons of God", mated with human women; the product of this mating was the Nephalim. They were gigantic in stature, with some estimates putting them at thirty feet tall. May I just say "OUCH" to that birth?

The Nephalim are so shrouded in mystery that scholars cannot agree on the meaning of the word, even. Some say it comes from a word meaning "giants", other say it means "distinguished ones", and still others claim that it means "fallen". Pictures of this offspring between human women and the "sons of God" show that they supposedly had skulls like this:

Their fossilized bones:

Gracious me! I thought my boy was growing up to be quite tall. Can you imagine being the human who gave birth to something that grew into this? I'm not claiming that these pictures are either real or fake--just putting them out there for your interest.

Now, since I write romance and not horror, my Nephalim have to be a bit different. They look more like this:

(Drawing made by the extraordinarily talented Ester-Sanz on deviantART.)

As you can see, my Nephalim are hot and sexy; about the only thing they have in common with the ones you'll find in the Bible and scholarly works is that they are tall, and they are descended from otherworldly beings. In fact, my Nephalim come to Earth from a different planetary system.

Although it's hard to tell in this picture if he has them or not (personally, I can't get past those eyes!), I have given my Nephalim wings. The wings of a mature Nephalim are long and match their hair color; both are shot through with gold or silver. Hair color is any that you can imagine--my current hero, Gadri-el, has deep purple hair, with gold highlights. I saw the picture above and immediately said, "Azazel!" (Don't say, "Bless you!" That's my hero's best friend, who will have his own story soon.)

The skin of a Nephalim is a tawny golden color. Their eyes are large and slightly turned up, and are lined naturally with black; long, lush lashes make them impossible to resist. They stand an average of seven feet tall, although some top out at eight feet. They are no Ken dolls and are, ahem, properly proportioned.

Clothing is Greco/Roman in that they tend to wear togas that sit on their hips and drape over their shoulders (it's hard to find a proper shirt when you've got large wings on your back). Most of the time, they are barefoot. They have a higher body temperature than humans and so they can walk over ice and snow with little problem, even barefoot. The only time they wear anything different is when they don armor for battle and then they are even more fierce and stunning.

They have come to Earth because they are a dying race. One of their historians found a passage in an old book that claimed that their ancestors had mated successfully with the humans of Earth. Although they find the idea of mating with humans distasteful as a general rule, some are finding brides among the women of Earth (just a hint--my heroines are not petite). Oh, and our heroes are finding a new religion with their spunky women.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween--Life in a Dead Neighborhood

So we are living in a dead neighborhood. They are all so "religious" here that they do not celebrate Halloween (but, ironically, they do celebrate Christmas, also a pagan holiday that's been watered down/Christianized). They don't dress up their kids or let them out to beg for candy or give out candy or anything. We sent the kids to the fun neighborhood across the street.

Our decorations, the only ones in our neighborhood. And our hams. I was not responsible for the decorating--my Little Bear (the first two pics) did it all himself, except the last few photos--those were all hubby.

The boys, but are they dressed for Halloween or just the usual week-end warrior stuff going air-softing? Two shots of my youngest--I don't have twins.

The front of the house--you can't see it too well, but there are ghost clings in the little window and bloody claw prints on the door, as well as spider web stuff. The orange mat makes a hideous cackling sound when you step on it that just makes me giggle every time. 

The ghost tree--the little ghosts blink in different colors! :-)

The graveyard--my Little Bear was inordinately proud of this!


Even hubby's car got involved in the playing!